Laura Petrolino

Three Elements Every Customer Experience Strategy Must Have

By: Laura Petrolino | November 21, 2016 | 
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Three Elements Every Customer Experience Strategy Must HaveI’m currently reading Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters, which discussed the rise of online reviews and how you can (and should) make them a part of your customer experience strategy.

I’ve learned many things from this book, including that I am a frequent complainer (more than seven times per year).

To be fair, I’m also a frequent complimenter.

If you treat me well and provide an extraordinary customer experience, I’ll be your biggest ambassador.

I’ll call your boss, I’ll write great reviews, I’ll write fun blog posts.

I will go out of my way to support you and help you.

But, if you treat me poorly, I will take you down.

The other day a friend was telling me about a hotel he stayed at where he had a less than awesome customer experience.

In describing it he said, “It was the type of place where you would have marched down to the front desk, asked for the manager, and then demanded a refund, flowers, and a complimentary spa treatment for your pain and suffering.”

Which is probably pretty close to exactly what I would have done.

Some people figure it’s not worth the energy.

I’m not one of those people.

I’ll make calls, I’ll write letters, I’ll contact the Better Business Bureau, I’ll tell everyone I know on every channel I have.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ll give you every chance possible to make things better, but if you ignore them all I will put in the effort to let the world know you are a jerk….relentlessly.

Even though I am considered a frequent complainer, I’d like to focus on being an even more frequent complimenter.

Today I am going to highlight one of the good guys: LovelySkin.com.

How LovelySkin Provides Great Customer Experience

One thing I’m willing to invest in is skincare because I’m vain and, if I don’t have to look my age, why should I?

I first found LovelySkin.com when searching for the best price for the products I use (I may be vain, but I’m also thrifty).

They often offer big discounts off of one of the lines of products I like and so were a perfect match.

I placed my first order.

The transaction when smoothly and the order was delivered on-time.

Everything was peachy.

There was nothing to complain about, but the experience also was not extraordinary. 

A few weeks later, I received a small package from them in the mail.

I hadn’t ordered anything so I was intrigued.

It contained a few samples of products in that same product line they thought I might like to try, as well as a coupon.

Hello genius customization.

I’m sure their CRM does his work for them and it’s scalable and customized….and it works! 

Feedback is King

Last week I placed another order and afterwards was asked to fill out a BizRate survey.

I was more than happy to do so.

A few hours later I got a lovely email from their customer service team, thanking me and prodding a bit more for feedback. 

They also reminded me that I’ll get a follow-up email after my products arrives so I can let them know if I’m happy with my order.

Talk about proactive feedback recruitment.

Onsite they also encourage product reviews by offering rewards points (which can be redeemed for discounts).

We live in a world where online feedback WILL be part of your organization.

In Baer’s Hug Your Haters, he has solid research around this fact (some stats that might amazing you).

The only way to “control” it is to lean into it. And Lovelyskin.com does this well.

Customer Experience Lessons from Lovelyskin.com

I like this example because none of this is ground breaking.

It’s not super creative or super expensive. It’s all basic, but it’s planned, organized, and strategic.

Creating a awesome customer experience strategy doesn’t need to be a painful, elaborate process.

It’s not brain surgery, it’s just about proactivity and preparation.

In many ways, “lovely skin” is a great analogy to customer experience and feedback strategy (you knew I had to fit in an analogy).

You can work hard to have an amazing complexion.

Wash your face daily, use the best products, stay out of the sun….but no matter how much you try to influence the health and appearance of your complexion, some things are beyond your control.

You are going to get an occasional zit or some sun spots.

There might even be a reaction to a product accompanied by a horrible rash (like what happened to me two days before I met the entire extended family of the guy I’m dating).

You might see some wrinkles despite doing everything in your power to prevent them.

These things will happen and the only thing you can do is have a plan in place to deal with them.

Three Things to Include

That’s what customer experience is about.

It’s about proactively considering your customer’s needs and taking measures to create the best experience (complexion) possible, but also knowing things won’t always go as planned and having process in place to deal with those “blemishes.”

A comprehensive customer experience plan is about the known and the unknown, the good and the bad. It’s about encouraging the feedback and reactions you want, and knowing how to deal with those you don’t.

You must be prepared to proactively:

  • Make customers happy.
  • Keep customers happy.
  • Help customers when they are unhappy.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, many elaborate, well-intended customer experience strategies don’t include one or more of these three elements. They are so wrapped up with the data of customer experience (which IS important), they completely forget the customer of customer experience.

Take a step back and take a journey through your customer experience program as if you were the customer. If it doesn’t address all three of the elements listed above, it’s time to go back and revise until it does.

About Laura Petrolino


Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.

  • paulakiger

    Only you could work pimples into a customer service analogy and have it be a perfect fit. Well done! Great points (and a book I need to read). I suppose this is more of a brand loyalty story but it sort of speaks to your point. Late in October, I was scheduled to take a bus to Orlando for a conference on a luxury bus line I have used frequently and given social media love to (because they earned it). The bus leaves from a hotel here in Tallahassee and as a rider, I can park my car there for a fee of $20. Fortunately I arrived early for my 12:30 am (sigh) ride to Orlando, because when I walked to the front desk at the hotel and explained I needed to park there (as I had done often), the staff person said they were under new ono longer doing that. It was 11:45, I had a bus to catch, and no place to leave my car. After a minor freakout, I went to the Marriott across the street, explained they had no reason to do this for me except that I was a loyal Marriott rewards member (which I am, also giving frequent social media love) and that I was in a pickle and needed to park there. They not only let me park there, they explained the best spot, and Cathy, the staff person on duty, said she would keep an eye out for my car. They could have easily turned me down, but having granted my request, they earned lots more loyalty. // The company shipping you samples customized to your preferences is another way of saying they value your business. Love it.

    • Love this!! And I love Marriott. I go out of my way to stay at Marriotts wherever I go, even if they cost more.

      So, this actually speaks to a big part of Jay’s book where he discusses proactive customer service. There is a story about how KLM returns items passengers lose on their flights that you’ll love. Point being, while proactive customer service, and that effort to go above and beyond to support your customers as humans and speak to their needs (even before they have the need) is what will define successful businesses from those that are stagnant or fail

  • That is a great case study, Laura. You’re right, small details make all the difference between a customer and a loyal customer.

    Only when you put yourself in their shoes, you have the whole picture of how they interact with your brand.

    Attention to detail goes a long way in customer service.

    • Detail makes all the difference. It’s the nuance that defines extraordinary customer experience from average (Or bad)

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